Expert Selection: Changing Relations With Things Through The Internet Of Things

    Iskander Smit – Changing Relations With Things Through The Internet Of Things
    Iskander Smit – Changing Relations With Things Through The Internet Of Things

    Iskander Smit

    Iskander Smit is the Innovation Director at, an Amsterdam agency which designs connected digital products and services. He is responsible for the research and development and he manages Iskander has a background in Industrial Design Engineering and has been working as a creative and strategist in digital services. He has a proven track record for designing and thinking on the Internet of Things. As of 2009 Iskander is a member of the Internet of Things Council and in 2013 he co-founded the Bahavior Design AMS meetup. In December 2014 he initiated and co-organized the (now annual) Amsterdam edition of the Berlin conference Thingscon, a leading conference on the design of the Internet of Things that aims to foster the creation of a responsible and human-centric Internet of Things.  In April 2017 Iskander started working as a visiting professor at the Connected Everyday Lab at the TU Delft University of Industrial Design Engineering. Here he will be setting up a new research program that will study the impact of things as citizens in our intelligent cities.

    “Connected things are entering our lives more and more, becoming the default. We will get used to new functions in existing products and new type of things will be introduced in our lives. Things that adapt to the context of use, where we will have conversations with each other via other interfaces than the screen and things will be a platform for related services. It will be interesting how our relation with things will change.”

    “Google has been researching new interactions for some years in their ATAP lab, such as project Jacquard. One of their first market ready products is a collaboration with Levi’s, known for their denim jeans, to create a tech commuter jacket made of conductive fabrics. New fabrics will become more common is the general belief. Functions will change and become disconnected from the digital form. But more interesting is how this is a signpost for the merge of digital and connectedness in everyday products without being a connected product. I’m looking forward to seeing products like these that go beyond the low-hanging fruit of just connecting with your phone.”
    “The Future Interfaces Group of Carnegie Mellon University shows what the possibilities are when sensors are combined with super smart software; and become a super sensor. This will lower the possibilities of connecting daily behavior to the digital. No surprise Google has adopted this research project. I don’t think this product will enter our market any time soon, but we shouldn’t keep our eyes closed to the fact that many household appliances are already equipped with sensors.”

    “Here’s a possible scenario of what might happen when things become more intelligent, become autonomous agents themselves. These so-called ‘affective things’ are depicted in this clip going by the same name. It’s based on a design research project by Iohanna Nicenboim and Elise Giaccardi of the TU Delft, whom I know through my work at the university and Thingscon. The project which is a collaboration with The Incredible Machine is speculative, but the notion that things will be able to communicate autonomously among each other isn’t that far off from becoming reality. It has started with the phone, but more things are sure to follow, think of services like IFTTT (if this, then that) and Triggi.”

    “How we relate to the things that become more intelligent is very well sketched in this a bit older movie ‘Uninvited guests’. It stresses how important the human factor is in developing the connected things.”
    “The importance of ethics in the Internet of Things is well-presented by Emily Gorcenski. She is making a true statement on the responsibility of the tech makers to keep validating the limits of the impact of their work. That is important with software development in general but even more with software development in the IoT space where consequences often much more impact in real-life.”
    “IoT is strongly related to the changing cities we live in where things become more and more autonomous in their behavior. I’m involved with this interesting Amsterdam project called ‘Roboats’, which is currently being developed by a collaboration between MIT and TU Delft. Roboats are autonomous boats that possibly form the new infrastructure of this increasingly crowded city. The way it’s implemented, as part of the city, will positively influence the acceptance of the city’s inhabitants. If you ask me, that’s a more realistic approach than autonomous flying drones.”
    “Security is one of the important topics in IoT. That’s not just about making the things unhackable, but also about creating a sense of trust for consumers, who are ultimately letting these connected products into their homes. Some great initiatives, such as IoT Mark are now building a trustmark that can be adopted by the industry, the makers of IoT products. In this presentation ‘The Little Things of Horror’, Alasdair Allan gives some good examples on how IoT products are doing it wrong.”